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Review: United Club Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) Terminal E

Updated: Jan 24

After an enjoyable flight from Washington to Houston in United's 767-400 First Class, I had a 3.5 hour layover before my United Express flight to Austin. To pass the time, I headed for the United Club in Terminal E.


Location

United operates a massive operation at Houston's Intercontinental Airport and has multiple United Clubs. The Terminal E club is located between Gates E11 and E12 and is directly across from the walkway connecting Terminal D and the TSA Security Recheck from Customs and Immigration. It is also adjacent to the United Polaris lounge, used for long haul passengers flying Business Class.


Hours of Operation

The United Club Houston-Intercontinental Terminal E is open from 5:30a-9:15p daily.


Entry Requirements

The easiest and most common way to get into a United Club is with a United Club membership. These annual memberships can be purchased directly and range in cost from $650 for general Mileage Plus members along with Silver and Gold elites, $600 for Platinum, and $550 for Premier 1K. Chase also has a United Club card that comes with access for a $525 annual fee.


In addition to a membership, select premium passengers can access the United Club. Of the big 3 US airlines, United is the most lenient when it comes to club access on premium tickets. United Polaris Business Class passengers, Business Class passengers on an international or transcontinental flight, and First Class passengers heading to Canada can access the United Club. First and Business Class passengers on a Star Alliance airline and Star Alliance Gold members also have access.


Finally, you can purchase a day pass (prices are discounted for those flying in Premium Plus) which is how I gained access on this trip. I purchased mine in advance which is something you want to consider as United will stop selling same day passes if the club becomes too full.


Since I bought my pass online, it was already added to my itinerary and all I had to do was scan my boarding pass at the desk and I was quickly admitted.

Reception desk at the United Club in Houston Intercontinental Airport Terminal E
United Club Reception Desk Houston Terminal E

Layout

The entrance of the lounge is on the concourse level while the bulk of the lounge is one level up. A pair of escalators and a flight of stairs led the way. There was also an elevator available for those that need it.

At the top of the escalator, there were floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ramp. This let in a ton of natural light and provided a great look of the 767 that just flew me down from Washington Dulles.

A customer service desk was straight ahead and the remainder of the lounge wrapped around the escalators in a C shape. The Terminal E lounge is the largest United Club in Houston and features plenty of seating, even when the lounge is fairly busy. Lounge chairs and cafe tables are placed throughout the lounge and the interior is still light and airy thanks to windows overlooking the concourse. This is balanced out somewhat by the dark wood paneling and low ceilings, a holdover from the Continental Lounge in the 2000s.

At the rear of the lounge is the bar and buffet area. There were roughly 10 seats at the bar while the remaining seats were comprised of more cafe style tables.

Though the lounge was crowded, there were still plenty of seats available during my visit.


Food and Beverage

The bar had a wide variety of spirits available. House wine, spirits, and beer were free while premium wine, spirits, and beer were available for purchase.

United Club Houston Intercontinental Airport Terminal E Bar
United Club Houston Terminal E Bar

Of the big 3 US airlines, I find that United has the least impressive food options by far. Lunch was out on the buffet when I arrived and featured a build your own birria nacho bar. Toppings included guacamole, cheese sauce, crema, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and queso fresco.

In addition to the nachos, a selection of fruit, jelly beans, peanuts, and sesame sticks were also available.

Illy branded coffee, tea, and water were also available on the buffet. Soda, juice, and other non-alcoholic beverages could be obtained from the bar.

United Club Houston Intercontinental Airport Terminal E Snack and Beverage Selection
United Club Houston Terminal E Snack and Beverage Selection

While I wasn't blown away by the food and snack selection, what they did have available was decent enough for my layover


Atmosphere

The lounge was packed when I arrived but I managed to find a few open seats at the bar. I ordered a mimosa, popped in my AirPods and worked for a couple of hours uninterrupted. The bartender and the rest of the staff were fantastic and proactively offered refills.


While the lounge was busy, everyone was respectful and it stayed relatively quiet throughout my visit. While I sat at the bar, the seats along the window provided great plane spotting opportunities for avgeeks.


Summary

This lounge is the largest United Club in Houston and has plenty of available seating even during busy periods. The food was less than stellar but the staff did a fantastic job during my visit. American Express' Centurion Lounge in Terminal D is still my favorite lounge in Houston but, if you're in Terminal E, the United Club will do the trick.


In This Trip Report

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